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In his recent letter to the editor, “Have a Spot of Tea,” Dick Foster appears to be somewhat supportive of the Tea Party movement. Be that as it may, but he said that we shouldn’t belittle the Tea Party because they are being courted by the “John Birch Society, an organization of people with good income, education and social status.” Good social status? Well, not with me! I remember the John Birch Society very well and all reasonable people should be alarmed that this organization of paleo-conservative paranoids is showing its ugly head again.
Yes, I remember the John Birch Society when I was growing up in the South in the late 1950s and early ’60s. The JBS was everywhere. Members claimed that President Dwight Eisenhower was a communist agent and that fluoridating our public drinking water was a communist conspiracy (and from a recent interview with their president, they appear to not have completely given up on this fluoridation plot).
In my hometown when I was a child, were numerous billboards urging us to “Impeach Earl Warren.” Well, you see, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren led his court to ban segregation in the public schools and according to the JBS this was, you guessed it, a communist conspiracy. But according to Robert Welch (JBS founder and president from 1958 to 1983) this communist conspiracy was just a front. The real force behind it all was a group of “insiders” descending from the Bavarian Illuminati of the late 1700s. Their goal: World control. Welch argues that the French Revolution, WW I, Communist Russia, the Federal Reserve, WW II, American foreign aid and the Vietnam war were all tools of this group of “insiders” in its secret quest for world domination. Maybe Dan Brown can make something of this tangled tale. Even William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater regarded Welch as having views “far removed from reality and common sense.”
Earlier this year, the JBS was a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference held in Washington, D.C. and presided over by such well-known conservatives as Mitt Romney, Dick Cheney and George F. Will. If the JBS is going to become a significant factor in American politics again, then I think this is a great step backward and we all should be very concerned.
David P. Kilcrease